Roman Palitsky, M.Div. PhD

Director of Research Projects
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Roman Palitsky, MDiv, Ph.D. is Director of Research Projects for Emory Spiritual Health and a Research Psychologist for Emory University School of Medicine. His research program investigates the pathways through which culture and health interact by examining the biological, psychological, and social processes that constitute these pathways. His areas of interest include biopsychosocial determinants in cardiovascular health, chronic pain, and grief. In collaboration with Emory Spiritual Health, his research addresses cultural and existential topics in healthcare such as religion, spirituality, and the way people find meaning in suffering, as they relate to health and illness. His work has also focused on the role of religious and existential worldviews in mindfulness-based interventions, as well as implementation and cultural responsiveness of these interventions.

Dr. Palitsky’s academic training includes a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona with a concentration in Behavioral Medicine/Health Psychology, and a Master of Divinity from Harvard University. He completed clinical internship in the behavioral medicine track at Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School, where he also completed a postdoctoral fellowship.

Dr. Palitsky’s ongoing projects include implementation research in mindfulness-based interventions, addressing provider facilitators and barriers, religious and existential determinants of response and uptake, and cultural adaptations. These projects interact with an ongoing interest in identifying and investigating spiritual and existential components within established and novel evidence-based treatments. Dr. Palitsky frequently mentors research projects by students and fellows who have interests at the intersection of culture, spirituality, and behavioral medicine.


  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Clinical Research, Brown University, 2022
  • Clinical Internship, Behavioral Medicine Track @ Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, 2021
  • PhD, Clinical Psychology. University of Arizona, 2020
  • MDiv, Harvard University, 2010
  • BA, Psychology & Religion, CUNY Baccalaureate Program, 2007


  • Palitsky, R., Chen, Z.J., Rentscher, K.E., Friedman, S.E., Wilson, D.T., Ruiz, J.M., Sullivan, D., Grant, G.H., O'Connor, M-F. (2023) Associations of religious and existential variables with psychosocial factors and biomarkers of cardiovascular risk in bereavement. Anatomical Society DOI: 10.1111/acel.14014
  • Palitsky, R., Wilson, D.T., Freidman, S.E., Ruiz, J.M., Sullivan, D., O’Connor, M-F. (2023) The relationship of prolonged grief disorder symptoms with hemodynamic response to grief recall among bereaved adults. Psychosomatic Medicine  DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000001223
  • Palitsky, R., Kaplan, D. M., Peacock, C., Grant, G. H., Dunlop, B. W., Raison, C. L. (2023) The importance of integrating Spiritual, Existential, Religious, and Theological components in psychedelic-assisted therapies. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2023.1554 
  • Palitsky, R., Reznik, S.J., Kaplan, D.M., *Anderson, M.R., *Athey, A., *Brodt, M.A., *Coffino, J.A., *Egbert, A., *Hallowell, E.S., *Fox-Fuller, J.T., *Han, G.T., *Hartmann, M.-A., *Herbitter, C., *Herrera Legon, M., *Hughes, C., *Hosking, C.R., *Jao, N.C., *Kassel, M.T., *Le, T.-A. P., *Levin-Aspenson, H.F., *López, G., *Maroney, M.R., *Medrano, M., *Rogers, M.L., & *Stevenson, B. (2023). Inclusion of trainee stakeholders is necessary for effective change in health service psychology training. Clinical Psychological Science. *shared fourth authorship
  • Hsu, B. & Palitsky, R. (2023) Maintaining, Relinquishing, and Adapting Bonds in Bereavement: A Qualitative Study of Grave Sweeping in China. Social Science and Medicine – Mental Health.
  • Palitsky, R., Kaplan, D. M., Brener, S. A., Mascaro, J., Mehl, M. R., Sullivan, D. (2022) Do Worldviews Matter for Implementation-Relevant Responses to Mindfulness-Based Interventions? An Empirical Investigation of Existential and Religious Perspectives. Mindfulness.
  • Palitsky, R., Kaplan, D. M., Brodt, M. A., Anderson, M.*, Athey, A.*, Coffino, J. A.*, Egbert, A.*, Hallowell, E. S.*, Han, G.*, Hartmann, M-A.*, Herbitter, C.*, Herrera Legon, M.*, Hughes, C.*, Jao, N.*, Kassel, M. T.*, Le, T-A. P.*, Levin-Aspenson, H. F.*, Lopez, G.*, Maroney, M.*, Medrano, M.*, Reznik, S.J.*, Rogers, M.*, Stevenson, B.* (2022) Systemic challenges in health service psychology internship training: A call to action from trainee stakeholders. Clinical Psychological Science.
  • Anderson, M. R., Kaplan, D. M., Palitsky, R. (2022) Religious and existential determinants of affective response to a brief mindfulness intervention. Affective Science. 
  • Palitsky, R. & Kaplan, D. M. (2019) The role of religion for Mindfulness-Based Interventions: implications for dissemination and implementation. Mindfulness.
  • Palitsky, R., Sullivan, D., Dong, S., Young, I. (2019) Worldviews and the Construal of Suffering from Depression. Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology, 3(4), 191–208. DOI: 10.1002/jts5.46
  • See full list of publications

*denotes shared authorship


  • Outstanding Postdoctoral Trainee Award (2022) – Society for Behavioral Medicine Integrative Health and Spirituality SIG
  • Meritorious Abstract Award (2020) – Society for Behavioral Medicine

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